Brad Pitt's favourite band strip things down

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Sigur Ros : London Hammersmith Apollo

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Sigur Ros : London Hammersmith Apollo

Sometimes it’s the tiny things that count. The Flaming Lips don’t really need to throw those giant balloons into the audience but, hey, it’s instant joy for very little effort. All Sigur Rós do tonight is set up three glitter balls to spin against an almost whited-out screen. Sounds simple, but it sends a spectacular blizzard raging through a venue usually associated with ‘Riverdance’ and Lemmy’s insomnia.

That’s the beauty of Sigur Rós, of course. While a legion of bands have adopted their glacial waves of noise in an attempt to pull off a handbrake turn (‘Kid A’, Blur‘s forthcoming ‘Think Tank’), Sigur Rós have stripped right back. The funereal ambience of ‘()’ really comes into its own tonight, the fragile piano notes giving Jonsi’s haunted falsetto the space to soar along with the snowflakes.

But what do the group who predated ‘Kid A’ do when they want to “do a ‘Kid A'”? On the evidence of the three new songs played, they return to melody and the kind of hope and vitality that’s left after a storm has passed by. ‘Göng’ even has an intricate electronic rhythm skittering under the delicate build, sending the mood spinning off into an entirely fresh direction. There’s truly no other band on the planet who can touch them.

Ian Watson